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It's been a long and rough six months, but our dues have finally been paid. My friends, NFL football is back, draft season is over, and it's finally time to set our lineups and fire up our favorite players for Week 1.

Nothing is more important than match-up analyzation when it comes to fantasy football. Playing your teams’ best players on a regular basis is important, but picking apart the top match-ups on a week to week basis can win you a championship, or even better, some cold hard cash in DFS. Matchups for the wide receiver position aren’t always as black and white as they can be for other positions. Receivers need to be broken down even deeper by analyzing the potential cornerback matchup they’re going to draw. This is especially true in potential shadow coverage cases such as any time an X receiver plays against Patrick Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals. Some analytical data used here such as fantasy points allowed per route covered, and percentage of routes run on the left side, right side, and in the slot is courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

These are the top WR vs CB match-ups for Week 1. Use these to set season-long lineups, as well as gain a competitive edge in the Daily Fantasy realm.

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WR/CB Matchups to Target

CIN WR A.J. Green vs. IND CB Pierre Desir

With inclement weather expected to plague Antonio Brown's efficiency this weekend, A.J. Green becomes my favorite hybrid play WR to pay up for to kick off the 2018 campaign.

Green draws a match-up against an Indianapolis Colts secondary that was already bad before it lost Rashaan Melvin to free agency. IND cornerback Pierre Desir is projected to cover Green for the vast majority of this game, and this match-up could not be juicier for the elite wideout. Before being placed on injured reserve last season due to a shoulder injury, Desir was allowing nearly 1.6 receiving yards per coverage snap according to Pro Football Focus.

Green also has a noticeable size advantage on Desir as well, given that he is three inches taller and nearly 10 pounds heavier. Green is only $7300 on DraftKings, and he makes for a great tournament pivot off Keenan Allen and Michael Thomas, who are expected to be highly owned. Given the match-up, both Tyler Boyd and John Ross make for interesting punt plays if you don't intend on rostering Green.

DAL WR Allen Hurns vs. CAR CB James Bradberry

Along with teammate Captain Munnerlyn, James Bradberry was consistently one of my favorite match-ups to attack last season. Bradberry allowed 0.37 fantasy points per coverage snap last season, which was the 11th-highest average in the NFL.

Carolina did very little to upgrade their secondary, and as a result they will have to roll Bradberry out as their CB1 against the Cowboys for week 1. Allen Hurns will be transitioning from what was essentially a full-time slot role in Jacksonville, but his physical specs (6'1"-208 pounds) should translate to the outside just fine.

Hurns will get the first crack in an offense that lost their top two target hogs in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. He offers respectable volume upside despite his $4700 price tag. Expect him to be peppered with targets out of the gate.

JAX WR Donte Moncrief vs. NYG CB Eli Apple

Perhaps the most notorious CB to pick on in DFS last season, Eli Apple was thrown at on a hefty 20 percent of his coverage snaps in 2017. He'll likely spend most of his time covering the 6'2" deep threat Donte Moncrief, who is also experiencing a change of scenery as a Jacksonville Jaguar. Moncrief is listed right next to Keelan Cole as one of the teams two starting WRs.

Based on the amount of hype, coupled with his ridiculously low price point, it's fair to assume the field heavily rosters Cole this weekend. That leaves Moncrief, who is only $200 more than highly hyped teammate, in line for some valuable low ownership. Moncrief is always a threat for end zone production (nine touchdowns in his last 21 games), he draws a juicy match-up against Apple, and he makes for a tremendous tournament pivot off who is essentially one of this slates most popular plays.

NE WR Phillip Dorsett vs. HOU CB Jonathan Joseph

You could do much worse for your weekly punt play than rostering Dorsett, who is projected to start the season as Tom Brady's WR2 behind just Chris Hogan.

Dorsett draws a home match-up against the Houston Texans, which also happens to have the highest implied total (51) on the entire slate. Dorsett will see a large dose of Jonathan Joseph, who struggled immensely in his 11th season in the NFL. Joseph finished among the bottom 12 at his position last season in fantasy points allowed per coverage snap. On top of this, Joseph also allowed a catch rate of 63 percent, which is a metric worth exploiting for a CB that covers most of his routes on the outside.

Like Moncrief, Dorsett is best used as a budget-friendly punt play in tournaments. He only needs to score 16 fantasy points to exceed value on DraftKings given his $3700 asking price.

 

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